"To be a great artist it's not necessary to wear the badge of art”, defended the artist Cabelo, in the midst of his own retrospective, in a conversation with Yanomami leader and shaman Davi Kopenawa, on April 19th.
For the artist, who introduced Kopenawa to an audience of more than 300 people, “originally the role of art is the role of the shaman, but this has been lost”, as if to indicate that the ritualistic relationships of art ceased to exist in the society that marks the artist more like a decorator than a creator of symbolic images.
Two decades of Hair's work were seen in light with darkness, which took place at the BNDES Cultural Space, in Rio, between March and May of this year. For Lisette Lagnado, curator of “anti-exposure”, as she defined it, it is “20 years of a creation that I consider indecipherable”.
In fact, more than a show, light with darkness it was an experience with elements extracted from pop and Afro-Amerindian cultures, where it was difficult to perceive the limits of each work, in an integration that seemed in fact to be an immense penetrable, with several distinct niches, using terms conceived by Hélio Oiticica. There were corners with huge eggs, parts of shares, others with different fabrics, places to sit, places to lie down.
The very idea of expanded cinema, also used by Oiticica, is already a reference in the title of the show, as it appropriates the concept of a movie theater, after all a space of light with darkness. Many projections were displayed throughout the exhibition space, almost all of which could be seen simultaneously, causing a kind of vertigo, with no beginning, middle and end.
It was in this somewhat chaotic and somewhat hallucinogenic environment that Hair received Kopenawa with a rather fantastic account. He recalled that, in 1992, during the World Conference on the Environment, in that same building “of BNDES, which finances so many works that end up with the Indians”, he went to see a concert and ended up participating in a yãkõana aspiration ceremony, the powder used in Yanomami rituals. “I well remember the embrace of the shaman that provided that experience, and for me it was just love”, says Cabelo. But the story took on mythical contours when he said that it was only on that day, April 19, 2018, when he went to the airport to pick up Kopenawa and told him that memory, that he knew that he had hugged Hair himself.
Kopenawa's presence, in addition to his personal history with the artist, actually made perfect sense there. For more than an hour, he spoke about the difficulties of the people of the forest, especially threatened by the miners, and how it is the Yanomami who end up playing a role in resistance and, at the same time, in the preservation of the Amazon.
“Pajé work is to protect, preserve mother earth,” said Kopenawa. “I am a teacher too, a teacher of humanity. We don't use pencils, but we use speech to teach and learn”, he followed his dialectical path.
In an exhibition that rejects the artist's role as a prominent figure, which has a signature that differentiates him from the others, Kopenawa's presence helped to broaden the understanding of the exhibition itself, even being critical in the tribute to the day of the Indian. “Indian was born in India, I am Yanomami”, he affirmed definitively.
Journalist Fabio Cypriano traveled at the invitation of the exhibition's organization.